North Korea vows to accelerate its weapons programs

North Korea says it will accelerate its weapons programs in response to the sanctions imposed on it by the UN Security Council.

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Elad Benari,

North Korean flag
North Korean flag
Reuters

North Korea vowed on Wednesday to accelerate its weapons programs in response to what it termed "evil" sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council following its latest and most powerful nuclear test, AFP reported.

The U.S.-drafted UN resolution, passed on Monday, bans textile exports, cuts off natural gas shipments to North Korea, places a ceiling on deliveries of refined oil products and caps crude oil shipments at their current level.

It also bars countries from issuing new work permits to North Korean laborers sent abroad and seeks to phase out the practice by asking countries to report on the date for ending existing contracts.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the latest UN sanctions on North Korea are only a very small step and “are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.” He did not elaborate.

The resolution passed after Washington toned down its original proposals to secure backing from China and Russia, came just one month after the council banned exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The North's foreign ministry on Tuesday condemned the new measures "in the strongest terms", calling them a "full-scale economic blockade" driven by the U.S. and aimed at "suffocating" its state and people.

It was "another illegal and evil 'resolution on sanctions' piloted by the U.S.", it said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency and quoted by AFP.

"The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country's sovereignty and right to existence," the ministry said, using the abbreviation for the North's official name.

Following last week’s test, North Korea warned it would send “more gift packages” to the U.S. if it continues to pressure Pyongyang.